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Haverhill Silver walk the CD tightrope to produce a blueprint release for others to follow.

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Haverhill Silver Band
Conductor: Mark Ager
Soloists: Tim Pannell, Paul Farr
Misc Recordings: CD009
Total Playing Time: Approx 1 hour

Making a CD that will become a showcase for your banding talents for posterity is a dangerous business.

Be too ambitious and you can commit musical hari kiri; too worthy and you can bore listeners to death; too lightweight and it soon becomes irrelevant. As balancing acts go, its up there with that chappie who walked between the Twin Towers on a tightrope.  

Knowing your potential market is one thing, selling it to them quite another. Get the mix right and sales will boom and reputations soar; get it wrong and you are left with a product that is harder to shift than a curry stain on a band jacket. 

Sound template

For those thinking of dipping their toes into the recording waters over the next few months, then this enjoyable release from the Haverhill Silver Band should be a sound template to work from.

First of all there are 14 well chosen tracks of varied repertoire and a couple of quality soloists. Add to that an obvious amount of hard graft and rehearsal time, a conductor who doesn’t flog his band to death and post production values that add value to the release, and bobs your uncle – a very good showcase CD release that deserves to be sold by the bucket load.     

Spot on

The repertoire isn’t over ambitious, but still demands some playing – a spot on mix to please the cognoscenti and the occasional concert going granny. 

From the opening ‘Procession of the Nobles’, through the selection boxes of ‘Breezin’ Down Broadway’, and ‘Spiritual Sounds’, the big band ‘MacArthur Park’, and tub thumping march ‘Washington Grays’, the listener can enjoy neat, well balanced warmly toned playing, well executed and directed by MD Mark Ager.

The band is able to play in a very accomplished fashion in different styles too; from the up beat ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’ and precise ‘Perpetuum Mobile’ through to the slightly odd ‘Light as Air’ (odd in the fact that Procol Harum meets JS Bach must be odd in anyone’s books) and the suave ‘Pavane in Blue’. Not everything comes off quite perfectly, but then again, so what?

The demanding lip sapper that is ‘Gaudete’ is polished and slick, although the Bourgeois ‘Serenade’ is taken at a bit of a lick. Given that it was written to accompany the composer’s broken legged wife down the wedding isle, it does come across as if she would have looked like a cross between Heather Mills McCartney and Long John Silver ice skating on marbles.

No such problems for the two quality soloists however, with Tim Pannell producing a real old ripper of a performance of the Harry James ‘Concerto’ and Paul Farr a bravura rendition of the old classic ‘Czardas’.

All in all a well produced release from all concerned (even the deps get a mention). Other bands take note.

Iwan Fox

What's on this CD?

1. Procession of the Nobels, Rimsky-Korsakov arr D. Ashmore
2. I Got Rhythm, Gershwin arr. Fernie
3. Gaudete, K. Norbury
4. Concerto for Trumpet, H. James arr. E. Howarth
Soloist, Tim Pannell
5. Perpetuum Mobile, J. Strauss arr. H. Snell
6. Light as Air, arr.G. Richards
7. Washington Grays, Grafulla
8. Spiritual Sounds, A. Fernie
9. Romance, Shostokovich arr. Broadbent
10. Breezin’ Down Broadway!, arr. G. Richards
11. Czardas, Monti
Soloist, Paul Farr
12. Pavane in Blue, T. Huggens
13. Serenade, D. Bourgeois
14. MacArthur Park, J. Webb arr. A. Fernie

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